Adopted English

magazine cover

I’m often startled by the English (or American) words that are incorporated into the Portuguese language. For instance, “okay” or “OK.” There is no letter K* in Portuguese, and yet “okay” is a word in frequent usage, meaning exactly what it does in English.

Until I saw this magazine at my brother-in-law’s house, I hadn’t realized that “six-pack” had also been assimilated into Portuguese. To my eye, it looks pretty funny on that cover, and oh-so-American: “You can have a SIX-PACK.” Apparently you can also have a mostly-naked woman who welcomes your hand on her butt as she hides her nakedness against your manly chest.

I hope Portugal doesn’t import the American body image neuroses along with those linguistic jewels.

* Note: the letter K was introduced into Portuguese and officially included as of 2009, but there’s a lot of resistance to the “new orthography,” and I can certainly understand why. Speaking as a person who learned the old orthography for two years before the new one became official, I’m highly resistant too!


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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10 Responses to Adopted English

  1. Jbrandao says:

    I actually talked about this the other day with a friend of mine. Many times I won’t remember the portuguese word for something, but I’ll remember the english one. It’s just that much more efficient, and there’s a lot of concepts or words that can’t be easily translated into portuguese.
    I don’t think we’ll import the body image neurosis. If that was going to happen, we would have found a portuguese equivalent for six-pack abs or wash-board abs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Alma says:

    And speaking of linguistic mixing, I must tell you that seeing the word Men’s written like “Mens” with the apostrophe squeezed in up top totally made me think of a certain time of the month. Because guess what mens means i Swedish…? That’s right, it’s short for menstruation.

  3. Lilaine says:

    Along with “six-pack”, you can find “look” (another k), very well placed on this cover. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ve always thought a six pack was made of six cans or bottles of beer…..hic… ๐Ÿ˜€

    The Portuguese people don’t strike me as the type to submit to this kind of diktat. I hope they won’t, ever. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. JR says:

    Dude. I’m still pissed off by the 1911 and 1945 orthographic reforms. My life would be a lot easier if everyone went back to the 18th-century spellings.

  5. M. says:

    We also ‘borrow’ plenty of English words. English is wordy and we are lazy, so instead of creating our own word, we simply adapt an English one. My favourite is ‘weekend’. OK is in use too. But we have k. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Lilaine says:

    We call the frequent and immoderate use of English words in our speech ‘Franglais’.(we created a French word for this very purpose :). I know this word(the equivalent) exists in other languages, too).

    Weekend and OK are overused, you regularly find kitchenette in real estate literature, parking, of course is everywhere(well, except when you need one, of course..!), and so on…

    We do have the french words for nearly all the borrowed English ones, though, but when people use them, it sounds like they’re being snob… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    bye (another one) ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Sue Dunham says:

    I have noticed ‘OK’ in local languages all over the world. I believe it may be the most adopted word ever.

  8. Malkor says:

    Ah, sometimes I don’t even notice when english words are used anymore.

    I myself am guilty of frequently replacing words for english ones, which are more streamlined and elegant in some cases.
    English words have been used in my language for as long as I can remember, and I think the languages mix really well to a certain degree.

    Because the current topic is languages:

    Ten years ago I read a book, if you can even call it that, titled “English for runaways – Englisch fรผr Fortgeschrittene”. The title itself was already a pun and it continued in that manner, with some of them truly hilarious.

    I’ve been wondering for some time if there was something similar to that “genre” in/for other languages.

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